Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

The question every journalist must ask…

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on March 25, 2010

All the great innovations of the past, from the factory produced car, to the Apple computer all began by asking a simple question.

And now, in the grip of the digital revolution and the great upheaval in journalism, it is a question journalists must ask themselves if they’re to create some of the much needed innovations which will determine the future of news.

At last week’s Digital Storytelling Conference in London we showed a short film to get people asking this very question. The results, in the Future of News Meetup shortly afterwards, were really interesting.

What if…?” is a tried and tested Lateral Thinking exercise used by innovators for decades. Asking “What If..?” does some really important things:

  • it gets you to highlight the conventions and assumptions which dominate the news industry
  • it gets you to wonder what would happen if one or more of those just weren’t true
  • it engages your imagination to come up with new ideas
  • it guarantees your ideas will be more original and leftfield

If more journalists asked “what if..?“, we’d see more and more new ideas for the future of journalism emerge.  It’s a question we’ll ask every month at the Future of News Meetups in London: if you’d like to join and take part click here to sign up.

Storytelling in the digital age

Posted in Adam, Journalism by Adam Westbrook on March 19, 2010

It’s one of human kinds oldest acts, against the most intense technological revolution in history. How do storytellers adjust in the digital age?


For answers, turn your eye to the Digital Storytelling ’10 conference today in London. I have teamed up with the people from Not On The Wires to put together an afternoon of inspirational speakers and events for journalists, academics, entrepreneurs, digital experts and students.

Fact is, there’s a big need for a conference like this. Why are journalists still telling stories in old ways with new technologies? As Alex Wood will explain in his opening remarks, why do TV journalists put traditional print on their websites, and why do newspapers put mimics of TV news packages on their websites?

Speakers include the multimedia producers SoJournPosse and Duckrabbit, as well as technical pioneers like Demotix, Blinked.TV and UltraKnowledge.

New ideas for the Future of News

The day wraps up with the March edition of the UK Future of News Meetup, where we’ll be using some unusual techniques to drum up lots of new ideas for journalisms big problems.

Follow the hashtag!

To keep up with events today, follow the hashtag #ds10 from 1300 GMT and #fong from  1830 GMT. There’ll also be live streaming, with all the details right here.